Fly Fishing Montana in June
June provides a true western fishing experience. The rivers a running bank full, big bugs are hatching, and big fish find the net daily. June provides the best boat fishing of the season.
The Nuances of June Fly Fishing in Montana
Throw a dart! Where ever it lands we shall go! In all reality June fishing is some of my favorite. The rivers are flush with water in the mid 50’s, insects are active, and the fish are on the banks. This is a recipe for high catch rates and big fish. June sees the conclusion of spring runoff on all of our freestone rivers. This is dependent on the river and even the section of river! As a whole by mid June options abound in south west Montana. As a whole, much of our June fishing takes place in a boat, however, there are always wade opportunities.
June Fishing Options:
The smaller freestones are generally clean and clear first. This doesn’t mean gentle flows, but that helps our case. Because of the higher volume of water, many of the mid river haunts are too fast for fish to comfortably hold in, so they push to the banks to seek comfortable refuge. The high flows also act as the mechanism to dislodge seemingly every bug in the river providing an endless supply of bugs to keep fish feeding. It is not uncommon to catch fish so full of stoneflies or worms in June that they are puking them out in the net. To further add to the excitement, we see emergences of plus sized stone flies. We almost always see the Stillwater River drop into shape before the Boulder, but the events are never far apart. Both of these freestones provide the best chance to have success fishing larger foam dry flies, as they see way less of them than the large river counterparts.
The Paradise Valley Spring Creeks see the most renowned emergence of PMD’s and Sulfurs in the state. Of all of the hatches in Montana very few garner the attention that the spring creeks do. From a scientific standpoint, there are very few fisheries that allow anglers to truly understand and see the entirety of the hatch cycle. Often times on big rivers, we find a big group of fish eating spinners, or fish in the riffles taking emerging insects. This is quite different on the spring creek. Often times we can target fish that are keyed in on each aspect of the hatch cycle. The only issue is that the three weeks of primetime book up a year in advance, so if you’re interested in seeing this emergence, you will have to plan ahead!
The Yellowstone River sees excellent fishing at the conclusion of spring run off in mid June. Because there are nearly 200 miles of fishable river there are a variety of things taking place on the river. Through Paradise Valley and through the park we see a good to excellent emergence of Salmon Flies. These gargantuan insects interest nearly every fish in the river. The hatch, fickle as it is, still is fun to pursue. We can often find some activity in the month of June as there are so many river miles to chase bugs. In addition to that, there are other insects like PMD’s, multiple species of caddis, and other stoneflies that become active later in the month that garner interest from the resident trout. Our favorite attraction throughout June on the Yellowstone is the streamer fishing. Because of the high flows the majority of fish are strongly associated with the banks and what little mid river structure is available. Mix this in with a strong brown trout population and an abundance of sculpins and crawfish and anglers can expect to see some solid streamer fishing.
The Madison River sees the conclusion of its minor spring runoff early in the month. While the Madison sees an increase in flows, the river only becomes slightly turbid as much of the water is dam controlled. This turbidity happens largely in mid May and doesn’t really hinder the fishing. As the water warms in June the insects really get going. Because of the highly oxygenated water and relatively stable flows the insects abound. Multiple species of caddis, mayflies, and stoneflies all become active. While many will emerge in July the availability of the nymphs creates some spectacular subsurface fishing in June. The middle to end of June sees the famous emergence of Salmon Flies which can provide excellent dry fly fishing, but always provides tremendous nymph and streamer opportunities for anglers of all skill levels in the weeks leading up to the hatch.
Our private water season kicks off in early June and its such a beautiful time to get to see a ranch and the water that flows through it. The grass is lush and green, young calves frolic through the pastures, and the fish have plenty of water to spread out and feed. There are a range of small stream and private water options that we make available to our guests. Cutthroat Haven is perhaps some of the finest fishing for native Yellowstone Cutthroat anywhere in the state. Yes, anywhere. Additionally, our other leases see solid insect activity and plenty of water to provide our guests with lots of different shots. Generally we will work our way upstream fishing a single dry, enjoy a wonderful shore lunch, and then swing a soft hackle or streamer back down stream. It is a truly magical experience to see ranch land completely green and be the only ones around to enjoy the states finest small stream fishing.
In June we see an average high of 77 and an average low of 44 with 2.5 inches of precipitation. Rarely do we see the all day deluge of rain, rather we see short lived afternoon storms that can give way to some of the best fishing of the day.